Zach Lowe of Grantland in writing about LeBron’s defense: “Some of that smacks of a regular-season malaise that will correct itself when Miami feels like caring again. But he hasn’t been quite as airtight defending dribble drives against other perimeter stars, even when he dials up the intensity — as he did last week against Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant blew by LeBron several times one-on-one, and though the threat of Durant’s shooting forced LeBron to press him tightly, Durant wasn’t the first guy this season to get around LeBron with surprising ease. Worth monitoring. Side note: It was telling that Oklahoma City split the LeBron assignment among three different players (Durant, Thabo Sefolosha, and Perry Jones), while Miami could only count on LeBron to guard Durant.”
Via Basketball Insiders, Andre Roberson on KD: “What makes him awesome to me is that he’s relatable,” Andre Roberson said. “He’s a young guy (25 years old), still learning just like I am, and he gives me wisdom into what he’s been through already. He’s just a very humble guy, down to earth and he cares about everybody. He seems like he’s a 10 or 12-year [veteran], but he’s in his seventh year. He knows a lot about the game, just with him being one of the premier athletes in this league he always has insight. [Having a young leader helps me] because there’s an easier way of approaching him. I’m not timid to approach him even though he’s a superstar in this league and some guys would be scared. … He’s not a mean or turn-you-away type of guy like some people are in this league. He’s just a great guy, great character, and that’s what this program brings in, great character guys.”
Tom Ziller of SB Nation on prospects: “And staying in school is no guarantor of finding a place where you can make an instant impact. Witness the polished Harrison Barnes, who passed up a chance to go top-five to stay in Chapel Hill. He ended up falling to No. 7, and midway through his second underwhelming season, his next contract isn’t looking too buoyant. (Some of us got a little overexcited by his playoff run. Whoops.) Witness Andre Drummond, who came out after one year when no one — not even the Pistons, who picked him — thought he was ready. He put those fears to bed almost immediately and is well on his way to a max deal.”
Tyson Chandler isn’t playing like himself anymore. But he’s totally worth Russell Westbrook, right?
Anthony Slater on the D-League: “And an invaluable tool for the organization’s long-term sustainability, as shown through the recent success of Jackson, Lamb and Jones. Oklahoma City has laid the blueprint. And across the NBA, many franchises have started to follow, adopting a more progressive approach to the D-League. Of the 17 minor league teams, five are owned by an NBA franchise and eight are being operated with a hybrid model, where an organization runs the basketball side of things without actually owning the team. There remain some kinks to be worked out and some advancements to be made. But relatively speaking, the league, which began play in 2001, is still in its infant stage, yet growing at a solid pace.”